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UK team drills record West Antarctic hole

UK team drills record West Antarctic hole

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your device UK scientists have succeeded in cutting a 2km hole through the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to its base. It's the deepest anyone has gone in the region using a hot-water drill. The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) pulled up sediment from the bottom of the hole and deployed a series of instruments.The researchers hope the project's data can help them work out how quickly the White Continent might lose its ice in a warming world. Dr Andy Smith leads the team, which is still at the drill site at a location known as the Rutford Ice Stream.He says there is immense satisfaction at having reached the bed after so many years of trying. An aborted atte...
Galactic collision could wake up Milky Way black hole

Galactic collision could wake up Milky Way black hole

Technology
New research has predicted that a galactic collision could wake the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way and cause it to swell ten times over and devour all surrounding matter. Astrophysicists at Durham University have predicted that the collision between the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and our own galaxy could occur much sooner than the expected crash between us and neighbouring galaxy Andromeda.This "catastrophic" collision could occur in two billion years' time - much sooner than the expected eight billion years until we smash into Andromeda.This is because recent research has discovered that the LMC contains far more dark matter than previously thought - meaning it is losing energy and dooming it to crash into our galaxy. The findings are published in the jour...
Largest ever black hole collision detected by scientists

Largest ever black hole collision detected by scientists

Technology
An international team of scientists have detected the largest ever black hole collision through the ripples it made in space-time. US scientists discovered the space-time ripples - officially known as gravitational waves - in a breakthrough in 2016, although their existence was predicted by Albert Einstein roughly a century ago.Now academics at the Australian National University (ANU) have detected the collision between two black holes, which are believed to have formed a new black hole about 80 times larger than the Sun.The ANU team worked in partnership with other academic institutions through the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), which is based in the US.ANU Professor Susan Scott said the team discovered four collisions in total by re-a...
Gravitational waves: Monster black hole merger detected

Gravitational waves: Monster black hole merger detected

Science
Gravitational waves have been picked up from the biggest black hole merger yet detected. Scientists say their laser labs sensed the ripples in space-time emanating from this gargantuan collision on 29 July 2017. The event saw two holes, weighing more than 50 and 34 times the mass of our Sun, uniting to produce a single object over 80 times the mass of our star. It happened at least five billion light-years from Earth.The discovery follows a major data re-analysis project. Researchers from the LIGO-VIRGO Collaboration will also list three other black hole mergers that were missed in the initial run-though of the data; and the promotion to full detection status of a previously uncertain "candidate". The re-analysis brings the tota...
Ozone hole above Antarctica could be repaired by 2060

Ozone hole above Antarctica could be repaired by 2060

Technology
Amid all the bad news about the environment there is one chink of light - the Earth's ozone layer is healing, scientists say. And the good news includes the huge hole above Antarctica, which is expected to completely vanish by the 2060s.According to a UN report, the upper layer of ozone over the northern hemisphere will be repaired by 2030, and the damage over the southern hemisphere will be back to normal by the middle of the century.The ozone layer's increasing health has been put down to the 1987 Montreal Protocol - an international treaty banning ozone-depleting chemicals, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), alongside new technology. Image: The banning of CFCs has helped to repair the ozone hole above Antarctica ...